|Previous stadiums||Arizona Stadium (1989–1999)|
Bank One Ballpark (2000–2005)
Sun Devil Stadium (2006–2015)
|Previous locations||Tucson, Arizona (1989–1999)|
Phoenix, Arizona (2000–2005)
Tempe, Arizona (2006–2015)
|Conference tie-ins||Big 12, Pac-12|
|Previous conference tie-ins||WAC (1990–1997)|
Big 12 (1998–2001)
Big East (1998–2005)
Big 12 (2006-2013)
Big 10 (2006-2013)
|Payout||US$1,037,000 per team (as of 2018)|
Copper Bowl (1989)
Domino's Pizza Copper Bowl (1990–1991)
Weiser Lock Copper Bowl (1992–1995)
Copper Bowl (1996)
Insight.com Bowl (1997–2001)
Insight Bowl (2002–2011)
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl (2012–2013)
TicketCity Cactus Bowl (2015)
Motel 6 Cactus Bowl (2016, 2 games)
Cactus Bowl (2017)
|UCLA vs. Kansas State (Kansas State 35–17)|
|California vs. TCU (TCU 10–7 OT)|
Originally played as the Copper Bowl from inception through 1996, it was known as the Insight.com Bowl from 1997 through 2001, then the Insight Bowl from 2002 through 2011, the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl for 2012 and 2013, and the Cactus Bowl from 2014 through 2017. (The games after the 2014 and 2015 seasons were played on January 2 instead of in late December.) In 2018 the game was renamed again, and sponsored by Cheez-It crackers.
When the bowl was initially founded, it was played at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, on the campus of the University of Arizona. In 2000, the organizers moved the game from Tucson to Phoenix. There, it was played at what is now known as Chase Field, the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks of Major League Baseball. For the 2006 season, the bowl moved a second time. After the annual Fiesta Bowl left Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe in favor of playing in University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, the Cheez-It Bowl (then still known as the Insight Bowl) was relocated there as a permanent replacement.
The Cheez-It Bowl is temporarily being played at its previous home of Chase Field in Phoenix while Sun Devil Stadium undergoes renovations. The renovations are being undertaken during the offseason, requiring Arizona State to close the stadium at the conclusion of football season through 2017. During this time, the game is one of two bowl games played in baseball-specific stadiums: the other being the Pinstripe Bowl, played at Yankee Stadium.
"Cactus Bowl" had been the originally planned name for what became the Copper Bowl in 1989. The game was played under the Copper Bowl name through 1996, after which title sponsorship rights were assumed by Insight Enterprises, who self-titled the game from 1997 through 2011. In 2012, restaurant chain Buffalo Wild Wings became the sponsor and self-titled the game for two years. Buffalo Wild Wings declined to renew sponsorship following the 2013 game, at which time organizers opted to rename the game "Cactus Bowl" rather than reverting to the Copper Bowl name. There had been a Texas-based Cactus Bowl played in Division II, however that game was discontinued after 2011. For 2014, TicketCity sponsored the new Cactus Bowl, and Motel 6 became the sponsor in 2015. In 2018, Kellogg's became the sponsor and rebranded the bowl, naming it after its popular cheese cracker, Cheez-It.
For the first ten years, the game was played at Arizona Stadium, on the campus of the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona. In 2000, the bowl's organizers moved the game to Bank One Ballpark, a baseball-specific stadium, in downtown Phoenix. In 2006, the game moved to Sun Devil Stadium at Arizona State University in Tempe to replace the Fiesta Bowl, which had moved to University of Phoenix Stadium in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale. The 2006 game set a record (since tied in the 2016 Alamo Bowl) for the biggest comeback in NCAA Division I FBS bowl history, as Texas Tech came back from a 38–7 third-quarter deficit to defeat Minnesota 44–41 in overtime.
Before 2006, the game mainly featured teams from the Pac-10, WAC, Big 12, and old Big East conferences. From 2006-2013, it began featuring an annual matchup between teams from the Big Ten and the Big 12. Starting with the 2015 game, it has featured a matchup between Pac-12 and Big 12 teams, contingent on bowl eligibility. Teams from the ACC and MW have also competed, along with teams from the now defunct SWC and Big Eight, and one independent school (Notre Dame in 2004).
For the first three playings of the Copper Bowl, TBS carried the game. Beginning in 1992 and continuing until the 2005 playing, the game aired on ESPN. After a four-year hiatus, during which NFL Network carried the game, ESPN regained the rights beginning in 2010.
|No.||Date||Bowl name||Winning Team||Losing Team||Attnd.|
|1||December 31, 1989||Copper Bowl||Arizona||17||NC State||10||37,237|
|2||December 31, 1990||Copper Bowl||California||17||Wyoming||15||36,340|
|3||December 31, 1991||Copper Bowl||Indiana||24||Baylor||0||35,751|
|4||December 31, 1992||Copper Bowl||Washington State||31||Utah||28||40,826|
|5||December 29, 1993||Copper Bowl||Kansas State||52||Wyoming||17||49,075|
|6||December 29, 1994||Copper Bowl||BYU||31||Oklahoma||6||45,122|
|7||December 27, 1995||Copper Bowl||Texas Tech||55||Air Force||41||41,004|
|8||December 27, 1996||Copper Bowl||Wisconsin||38||Utah||10||42,122|
|9||December 27, 1997||Insight.com Bowl||Arizona||20||New Mexico||14||49,385|
|10||December 26, 1998||Insight.com Bowl||Missouri||34||West Virginia||31||36,147|
|11||December 31, 1999||Insight.com Bowl||Colorado||62||Boston College||28||35,762|
|12||December 28, 2000||Insight.com Bowl||Iowa State||37||Pittsburgh||29||41,813|
|13||December 29, 2001||Insight.com Bowl||Syracuse||26||Kansas State||3||40,028|
|14||December 26, 2002||Insight Bowl||Pittsburgh||38||Oregon State||13||40,533|
|15||December 26, 2003||Insight Bowl||California||52||Virginia Tech||49||42,364|
|16||December 28, 2004||Insight Bowl||Oregon State||38||Notre Dame||21||45,917|
|17||December 27, 2005||Insight Bowl||Arizona State||45||Rutgers||40||43,536|
|18||December 29, 2006||Insight Bowl||Texas Tech||44||Minnesota||41 (OT)||48,391|
|19||December 31, 2007||Insight Bowl||Oklahoma State||49||Indiana||33||48,892|
|20||December 31, 2008||Insight Bowl||Kansas||42||Minnesota||21||49,103|
|21||December 31, 2009||Insight Bowl||Iowa State||14||Minnesota||13||45,090|
|22||December 28, 2010||Insight Bowl||Iowa||27||Missouri||24||53,453|
|23||December 30, 2011||Insight Bowl||Oklahoma||31||Iowa||14||54,247|
|24||December 29, 2012||Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl||Michigan State||17||TCU||16||44,617|
|25||December 28, 2013||Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl||Kansas State||31||Michigan||14||53,284|
|26||January 2, 2015||Cactus Bowl||Oklahoma State||30||Washington||22||35,409|
|27||January 2, 2016||Cactus Bowl||West Virginia||43||Arizona State||42||39,321|
|28||December 27, 2016||Cactus Bowl||Baylor||31||Boise State||12||33,328|
|29||December 26, 2017||Cactus Bowl||Kansas State||35||UCLA||17||32,859|
|30||December 26, 2018||Cheez-It Bowl||TCU||10||California||7 (OT)||33,121|
- Games 1–11 played in Tucson at Arizona Stadium
- Games 12–17 played in Phoenix at Bank One Ballpark (now Chase Field)
- Games 18–26 played in Tempe at Sun Devil Stadium
- Games 27–present played in Phoenix at Chase Field (formerly Bank One Ballpark)
Two MVPs are selected for each game; one an offensive player, the other a defensive player.
|Game||Offensive MVP||Defensive MVP|
|1989||Shane Montgomery||North Carolina State||QB||Scott Geyer||Arizona||DB|
|1990||Mike Pawlawski||California||QB||Robert Midgett||Wyoming||LB|
|1991||Vaughn Dunbar||Indiana||TB||Mark Hagen||Indiana||LB|
|1992||Drew Bledsoe||Washington State||QB||Kareem Leary||Utah||DB|
|1993||Andre Coleman||Kansas State||WR||Kenny McEntyre||Kansas State||CB|
|1994||Jamal Willis||BYU||RB||Broderick Simpson||Oklahoma||LB|
|1995||Zebbie Lethridge||Texas Tech||QB||Mickey Dalton||Air Force||CB|
|1996||Ron Dayne||Wisconsin||RB||Tarek Saleh||Wisconsin||LB|
|1997||Trung Canidate||Arizona||RB||Jimmy Sprotte||Arizona||LB|
|1998||Marc Bulger||West Virginia||QB||Jeff Marriott||Missouri||DT|
|1999||Cortlen Johnson||Colorado||RB||Jashon Sykes||Colorado||LB|
|2000||Sage Rosenfels||Iowa State||QB||Reggie Hayward||Iowa State||DE|
|2001||James Mungro||Syracuse||RB||Clifton Smith||Syracuse||LB|
|2002||Brandon Miree||Pittsburgh||TB||Claude Harriott||Pittsburgh||DL|
|2003||Aaron Rodgers||California||QB||Ryan Gutierrez||California||FS|
|2004||Derek Anderson||Oregon State||QB||Trent Bray||Oregon State||LB|
|2005||Rudy Carpenter||Arizona State||QB||Jamar Williams||Arizona State||LB|
|2006||Graham Harrell||Texas Tech||QB||Antonio Huffman||Texas Tech||CB|
|2007||Zac Robinson||Oklahoma State||QB||Donovan Woods||Oklahoma State||S|
|2008||Dezmon Briscoe||Kansas||WR||James Holt||Kansas||LB|
|2009||Alexander Robinson||Iowa State||RB||Christopher Lyle||Iowa State||DE|
|2010||Marcus Coker||Iowa||RB||Micah Hyde||Iowa||DB|
|2011||Blake Bell||Oklahoma||QB||Jamell Fleming||Oklahoma||DB|
|2012||Le'Veon Bell||Michigan State||RB||William Gholston||Michigan State||DE|
|2013||Tyler Lockett||Kansas State||WR||Dante Barnett||Kansas State||DB|
|2015||Desmond Roland||Oklahoma State||RB||Seth Jacobs||Oklahoma State||LB|
|2016 (Jan.)||Skyler Howard||West Virginia||QB||Shaq Petteway||West Virginia||LB|
|2016 (Dec.)||KD Cannon||Baylor||WR||Tyrone Hunt||Baylor||DE|
|2017||Alex Delton||Kansas State||QB||Denzel Goolsby||Kansas State||S|
|2018||Sewo Olonilua||TCU||RB||Jaylinn Hawkins||California||S|
The bowl awarded a sportsmanship award for the 2001 through January 2016 games.
|2001||Terry Pierce||Kansas State||LB|
|2002||Derek Anderson||Oregon State||QB|
|2003||Doug Easlick||Virginia Tech||FB|
|2004||Derek Curry||Notre Dame||LB|
|2007||Jonathan "Josh" Sandberg||Indiana||OG|
|2016 (Jan.)||D. J. Foster||Arizona State||RB|
Texas is the only current Big 12 school that has not played in this bowl. Seven of the current Big 12 schools have appeared multiple times. Former Big 12 members Colorado and Missouri have appeared in the bowl, but former Big 12 members Nebraska and Texas A&M have not.
Updated through the December 2018 edition (30 games, 60 total appearances).
- Teams with multiple appearances
- Teams with a single appearance
Won: BYU, Colorado, Kansas, Michigan State, Syracuse, Washington State, Wisconsin
Lost: Air Force, Boise State, Boston College, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Rutgers, UCLA, Virginia Tech, Washington
Appearances by conference
Updated through the December 2018 edition (30 games, 60 total appearances).
- Pac-12 record includes appearances when the conference was the Pac-10. From 1989 through 2005, Pac-10 teams made eight appearances and were 7–1.
- Current Pac-12 member Colorado appeared in the game as a member of the Big 12 in 1999.
- Notre Dame appeared as an Independent in 2004.
- "2018 Bowl Schedule". CFP.com. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
- "CHEEZ-IT JOINS CACTUS BOWL AS NEW NAMING RIGHTS PARTNER". Retrieved August 20, 2018.
- McMurphy, Brett (May 4, 2015). "Cactus Bowl moving to Chase Field for next three seasons". ESPN.com.
- "New bowl game seeking sponsor, TV pact". The Tuscaloosa News. 1988-08-13. Retrieved 2014-12-30.
- "Insight Bowl loses its title sponsor after 15 years,". Sports Illustrated. Associated Press. 26 January 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
- "Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl loses sponsorship". azcentral. 16 June 2014.
- "TicketCity gets Cactus Bowl naming rights for Cactus Bowl in Tempe". Phoenix Business Journal. 2014-11-25. Retrieved 2014-12-30.
- "Motel 6 inks naming rights deal for Cactus Bowl". Phoenix Business Journal. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
- "Down 31, Texas Tech rallies for biggest bowl comeback". Associated Press. December 29, 2006. Archived from the original on 2 January 2007. Retrieved 30 December 2006 – via ESPN.
- "Game History". fiestabowl.org. Retrieved January 17, 2018.